Getting Advertisers to Spend More with You

Getting Advertisers to Spend More with You

Consider this:  You are a busy, dedicated, ad sales professional. Every minute of your working day is committed to doing the best for your advertisers and the media company you work for. When you’re not actually seeing clients or prospects you are researching them or designing effective ad campaigns for them. You literally don’t have a minute to spare.  And then… your Ad Director tells you he, or she, needs more from you.  Or, they drop a new product on you to sell.  This happens time and time again.  Month after month.  I call this living on the perpetual hamster wheel from hell.  So, how do you get off this wheel of doom?  Sell more.  Easier said than done?  I have been there my friends.  Truly I have been there.  So, what do you do?  The answer is possibly something you’ve already thought of yourself or heard on my ad sales training podcast: Make the calls to your current advertisers more profitable.  Sell every advertiser more!  But, how?

Let’s talk about ‘multi-media’ advertising, and getting our advertisers excited about buying multiple products from us. 


SPECIAL NOTE:  You can hear more detail on this topic on the Ad Sales Nation Podcast at this link:


Multi-media is something we all offer.  Print and digital.  Radio and digital.  Lead gen and webinars.  You name it, we have it to sell.  But, the simple fact is most advertisers do not want our traditional media.  They want to just want one thing; digital.  In my ad sales training workshops, we spend 75% of our time on this point.  It’s a real and complex issue.  We are further burdened by the fact that most advertisers know almost nothing about marketing.       

Here’s a fact. A recent GFK/MRI study of brands tell us that when an advertiser adds multi-media to their mix, they always increase their return on investment. In some cases 20-30%.  That’s important, and it’s a message you should be sharing with your advertisers.  Why is using multi-media so effective?  It’s a phenomenon I call the ‘familiar factor’.  ( I think I may have coined that term. Lol) What that means, and what Nielsen reported on the subject, is that 76% of people are more likely to commit to, more likely to engage with, and more likely to click on, brands they are familiar with. 76%! 

So, the reason multimedia advertising is so important to your advertisers, and to you as a professional media salesperson, is because it increases, exponentially, your advertiser’s ‘familiar factor’. Thus, impacting their ROI.  Great ROI equals happy advertisers.  Happy advertisers renew. 

The secret of getting more ad dollars from an advertiser is convincing them that the familiar factor is real and important to them.  Here is what you might say,  “Mr or Mrs Advertiser, the secret to maximizing your ROI from your ad campaign is frequency.  You need to be seen repeatedly to drive up your familiar factor.  Marketing experts from Thomas Smith in 1885 to modern marketer Jay Baer, teach us that unless your product or service is priced like a Ginsu Knife set for $19.99, the average consumer will need to see your offer or brand 25-30 times before they react.  Maximizing your ROI is all about being seen in multiple ways on multiple days.”    

So, what about those advertisers that only want digital?  Or, they only want one media product?  If someone was to run ads only on Facebook, they are limiting their audience.  That’s called being ‘siloed’ and we need to talk our own advertisers through that problem.  If running siloed marketing campaigns worked, that is what all major brands would do to save money.  They just do not do that. Period. 

On my Ad Sales Nation, ad sales training podcast, I teach my sales reps to say, “You need to cast a big net. That’s the way you get the most exposure for your brand, thus increasing your familiar factor, which leads to increasing your return on investment.  Now, with that said, you need to cast your net into the right ocean.  We are that ocean.  We have the fish you want to catch.”

When I’m selling multi-media to an advertiser, I immediately focus on telling success stories. In my media sales training classes, we practice success stories every time.  You must remember there are three things in life nobody really likes; change, committing money or making decisions. Sharing success stories is the quickest way I’ve found for me to reduce the risk for people and help them commit to the change they need to make towards their marketing goals. So, what I often do, no matter the media I’m selling in; radio, TV, event sponsorship, whatever; I dig into the huge bag of success stories I have memorized and share some of them with the advertiser.  If appropriate I show examples in person or online.   

I’m careful, though, and this is important, my success stories are never based on ‘widgets’ sold. That’s just too narrow. If I’m sharing a success story with a furniture company, for example, I’m not going to say, “You know Bob Jones Furniture? Every time he runs an ad he sells 50 couches.” Or if I’m talking to a company selling medical equipment, I won’t say, “Hey, every time GE runs an ad, they move 16 machines.” Those kinds of success stories sound great, even sexy, but they are setting up unrealistic expectations in the new advertiser’s mind that could become bear traps for you in the future.

Instead, I focus on advertisers that love me; advertisers with longevity. I’ll say something like, “Lowell Automotive has been with us for 15 years and shows no sign of letting up. As a matter of fact, Lowell and I have become such good friends I was even invited to his wedding.”

Or, if I’m talking about one of the equestrian events I sell sponsorships for, I might say to a saddle retailer, “Every time Diamond Cross Saddles exhibits here, I see people walking away from their booth carrying saddles. I don’t want to go into intimate detail about how many saddles, but let me really clear with you, this event has been held in this location for 12 years and Diamond Cross has been here for every single one. They just keep coming back for more.”

Multiple media is definitely where it’s at today. But when you’re talking about it to advertisers, you also need to talk about the tried and tested ‘marketing rule of three’. Sadly, most marketers don’t understand that multi-media can be used throughout all the stages of the rule of three. Just to remind anyone out there who might have forgotten, the marketing rule of three consists of three elements; pre-promotion, actual promotion, and post-promotion. Here’s an example. We’ve all heard those ads for a car dealer who is running a Fourth of July sale. They pre-promote like crazy weeks in advance on radio and TV, and in newspapers.

“We’re having a July Fourth sale! Come on down and play with the clowns! We’ve got elephants and peanuts and cotton candy – and we’re selling cars. Crazy Dave will be moving cars at crazy prices on July 4th.”

On the fourth of July, the ads change. “It’s here! Come on down today! Play with the clowns, ride the elephants, take a free pony ride – and, by the way, we have a load of cars to sell here at Crazy Dave’s!”

Then comes the post-promotion, and Crazy Dave isn’t so crazy because he knows that by running all three stages of the campaign in multi-media formats, he will increase his return on investment. The third leg, the post-promotion leg might run something like this: “Just in case you missed it, Crazy Dave still has cars! We had a blast on July fourth, and we still have cars. Come on down!” Crazy Dave understands that a boulder is at its most powerful when it’s rolling down the hill. Pushing it up the hill, its just dead weight pushing back at you. Same with a wave. When is it at its most powerful? When it’s building? When it’s cresting? Or when it’s smashing down the other side? Its common sense, and something we all know, you always get more momentum riding the wave on its way down, not when its building.


SPECIAL NOTE:  You can hear more detail on this topic on the Ad Sales Nation Podcast at this link:


Most marketers don’t do that, they try to live in the ‘now’. They become, in effect, marketing day traders, and because they do, they become stressed trying to guess where people are going to buy, instead of understanding, and implementing, the marketing rule of three. The bottom line is this; if you have a summer promotion, promote it in advance, promote it hard while it’s actually happening, and then ride the wave of that promotion after the event to increase your return on investment. Multi-media advertising works very well within this concept. And if you explain the marketing rule of three so your advertisers understand it, they too will be excited.

There is another aspect of this that will work well for you if you use it. I would suggest most advertisers are looking to you for leadership and guidance. I’d go even further and suggest the vast majority don’t really understand what it is they need to do to get their brand noticed and become familiar to prospective customers. My own approach, then, is to try and provide that leadership and guidance. Let me sound a note of warning here. Don’t get caught in the trap of trying to figure out their marketing budget.  They will probably just lie or say they do not have a budget.  Asking for an advertisers budget means you have to align what they think they need to spend instead of what they actually need to spend.  Remember, most advertisers do not know what it will take to make an impact in their market or industry.  Remember it isn’t about what they think they need to spend. In multi-media, it’s about what they actually need to spend to keep up with their competition. So, what I like to ask advertisers, and if you’ve read any of my previous blog postings this will not be new to you, is, “Mr or Mrs Advertiser, when you think about your marketing goals and desires, and how you want to be perceived in this community or industry, do you want to have a presence, or do you want to be competitive, or do you want to dominate?”

By asking them to place themselves in one of these three categories, I’m giving them a small, realistic dose of advertising reality medicine. My next words will depend on their answer. If the answer is they want to be dominant, I will say, “Great! Are you familiar with so and so?” (Here I will share the name of one of my dominant advertisers). “Would you agree they dominate?  Would you be surprised to know that someone like that spends around $50,000 a year with us?” I’m not going to give them any real details, that would be unethical, but I do want to give them that dose of advertising reality.

If they can’t afford to dominate, maybe they can afford to be competitive. If not then we’re down to having a presence. I’m teaching them, in a fairly gentle way, that it isn’t about what they think they need to do to dominate or be competitive, it’s what they actually have to do.

“Ryan, I want to be competitive.”

“Cool! Are you familiar with so and so? Would you be surprised to know, Mr or Mrs. Advertiser, someone like that probably spends around $15,000 a year with us?”

“Really? I had no idea!”

I remember when I was first introduced to this concept. I was working with a wonderful media sales pro names Aimee Scott who was patient enough to walk me through the concept. I loved it so much I incorporated it into almost every aspect of salesmanship and ad sales training I was involved in, and I still do. The reason I was so taken with the idea was because I realized advertisers were almost invariably unrealistic in what they thought it would take to establish themselves, at whatever level, in their market.

You should, by now, understand that certain facts are immutable. If you want to be dominant, you have to be prepared to do certain things and spend a certain amount of money. If you want to be competitive, you have to be prepared to do certain things. If you want to have a presence, there are still things you have to be prepared to do, although perhaps fewer, or less expensive things, than for the higher levels of market penetration.  This is what ad sales training is all about, new ideas to get new money. 

Okay, let’s sum up. If you want to get advertisers excited about multi-media advertising, and to spend more money with you,  it is imperative you focus on two main things.

1.  Explain the old-fashioned marketing rule of three until your advertisers understand it as well as you do. Pre-promotion. Actual time promotion. Post-promotion. Once your advertisers wrap their heads around the fact they can increase their return on investment by using all three steps, when they realize it works, they’ll continue to invest, potentially, over and over again.

2. Ask the question: Do they want to have a presence, be competitive, or do they want to be dominant. Ask them how they want to be perceived in the market. And when you have educated them, when they understand it’s not what they think they need to spend, its what they actually have to spend, well … that’s when you have, potentially, a winning scenario.

Folks, we talk about all this and more over at We also talk about it in free webinars also available on In fact, we have no less than nine hours of webinars you can check out – and they’re all free from our partners at The Magazine Manager and The Newspaper Manager.

I’ll leave you with this thought: If ad sales was easy, everyone would be doing it – but they’re not. What does that say about us as ad sales professionals? We’re either like Dave, crazy, or we are forging careers that will feed us and our families for life.



SPECIAL NOTE:  You can hear more detail on this topic on the Ad Sales Nation Podcast at this link:

About this blogger:

Listen to Ryan’s ad sales podcast, Ad Sales Nation, on iTunes or on Soundcloud.  Keep up to date with Ryan’s ad sales training advice on Facebook at:

Ryan Dohrn is an award winning ad sales training coach, a nationally recognized internet sales consultant, and an international motivational speaker. He is the author of the best-selling ad sales book, Selling Backwards.  Ryan is the President and founder of Brain Swell Media and 360 Ad Sales Training, a boutique ad sales training and sales coaching firm with a detailed focus on ad sales training, internet consulting, and media revenue generation. Ryan is also the Publisher of“>Sales Training World

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Ryan R. Dohrn


360 Ad Sales Training and Strategy

Brain Swell Media LLC

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